We all know Craig Foss has a gay ute, and there are many things out there that are gayer than Fossy’s gay ute, but I think this one really takes the cake:
A couple of weekends a month, Tom McMahon, 44, a federal government budget analyst who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., joins his wife for a special indulgence, squeezed in around brunch and his regular Sunday touch rugby games: simultaneous pedicures, complete with nail polish as the finishing touch. Mr. McMahon, who is 6-foot-4 and weighs 270 pounds, typically chooses a decidedly bold color for his toes, often either China Glaze’s Gaga for Green, a hue that brings Kermit the Frog to mind, or Gargantuan Green Grape, a pastel by OPI that suggests pistachio ice cream.
“I stay within a range of colors,” Mr. McMahon said. “I like the greens and oranges. I stay away from the blacks — it looks medicinal when you do that. I choose the colors by the title of the actual color.”
“For me, it started off as being fun and kitschy,” he added. “I’m very comfortable wearing it.”
Of course, even a brightly hued pedicure is, in a sense, discreet, since it’s covered up by shoes at the office. “It’s kind of my secret thing when I go to work,” Mr. McMahon said, pointing out that his five tattoos are also concealed during business hours. “I’m highly doubtful that they know I paint my toenails.”
Mr. McMahon is one of many men these days who wear nail polish on their fingers or toes, in statement shades or in quieter transparent ones. At Townhouse Spa in Midtown Manhattan, more than 80 percent of male nail clients opt for polish, said the spa’s owner, Jamie Ahn, from a simple matte topcoat to a more pronounced color, usually on the feet. Over half the men’s treatments in the Essie nail area at the Samuel Shriqui Salon on the Upper East Side are finished with nail polish, usually clear, Mr. Shriqui said. Similarly, about half the men who come into the three Manhattan locations of Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa, often with their wives or girlfriends, choose polish, typically clear, occasionally a single coat of sheer pale pink on their fingers and, frequently, a dark shade of navy blue or gray on their toes.
“Guys getting a colored or clear polish is sort of a natural progression from going to get a manicure or pedicure,” said Will Welch, a senior editor at GQ. “The change is guys being like, ‘Some of these things that are traditionally for women only are actually O.K. for me now, and I’m not self-conscious about it.’ Once that door’s open, the idea of clear or colored polish is sort of in the room.”